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The name may or may not help in the long run, but even Google might have sounded as funny as DuckDuckGo back then.

If you don’t know about DuckDuckGo yet, then you have been deaf to the quacks this one has been making as an alternative search engine to Google Get A Better Search Experience With Duck Duck Go Get A Better Search Experience With Duck Duck Go It seems that there are a couple of services and Linux distributions (such as Linux Mint) that are switching over to Duck Duck Go as their default search engine. So why the heck are they... Read More . Its main claim to fame has been that it does not track you. Privacy promised and delivered. What about performance?

DuckDuckGo is the David to Google’s Goliath and it still hasn’t found the right slingshot to slay the giant. But it has been throwing some pretty good “rocks”. Read that as “features” and then really read some of the cool features of DuckDuckGo 6 Cool DuckDuckGo Features You Won't Find On Google 6 Cool DuckDuckGo Features You Won't Find On Google In a world ruled by Google, at least where search is concerned, it’s sometimes hard to imagine a worthy alternative. DuckDuckGo is one website that is trying to offer such an alternative. If you’ve been... Read More .

Instant Answers is a collection of DuckDuckGo Goodies that tap into more than 100 sources to give you answers to your searches in a zero-click info box below the search field. Here are ten from the huge list that should make your online search life somewhat easier.

Find Money Saving Coupons

DuckDuckGo Coupon Discounts

Try the Coupons instant answer.

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The example shows one tried out with Canon. You can try it with any brand name and see what the CouponMountain coupon code website throws up. Even a suggestion of a deal is an excuse to go out hunting for better ones elsewhere. You can also click on More at CouponMountain to see what else is on offer.

Watch Movies With Your Favorite Starring Cast

DuckDuckGo Movie Search

Try the Movies with…instant answer.

Google does this with its Knowledge Graph. Just so you know, DuckDuckGo manages it well it with the same query. In some of the queries I tried out (like the one above), Google missed a movie here and there. Does this simple query smooth over some Saturday evening arguments when each partner wants to watch their favorites? If only life was that simple!

Use A Stopwatch

DuckDuckGo Stopwatch

Try the stopwatch instant answer.

Google had it. DuckDuckGo has it too with the added bonus of a lap timer. If you have been looking for a dead simple timer or even a counter for doing some intense interval training in front of the computer, this could solve your problem elegantly. You don’t need my article on online timers for everyday stuff 10 Different Types Of Online Timers For Everyday Stuff 10 Different Types Of Online Timers For Everyday Stuff Read More . I do wish someone would add a “beep” alarm to it – it would make for a good Pomodoro tool!

Expand Short URLs

DuckDuckGo URL Expander

Try the Show a shortened URL instant answer.

This DuckDuckGo goodie uses the Long URL service to remove one of the doubts behind every shortened URL – what’s the shortened URL really hiding? URL shortening services solved the problem of really long URLs but also created a security ambiguity. There are many services which unravel a short URL without you needing to go to the target site…DuckDuckGo makes it a zero-click job.

Expand Your Vocabulary

DuckDuckGo Find Similar Words

Try the Related words instant answer.

It is a basic rule of good writing that one should avoid overuse of the same words. That’s where a synonym-enriched vocabulary comes into its own. Or you could cheat with DuckDuckGo and use this instant answer to get a list of similar words.

For The Love Of Lorem

DuckDuckGo Lorem Ipsum Generator

Try the Lorem ipsum instant answer.

Lorem ipsum generators 10 Handy Alternatives If You Are Tired Of The Usual Lorem Ipsum Filler Texts 10 Handy Alternatives If You Are Tired Of The Usual Lorem Ipsum Filler Texts Web designers probably have a kitty of Lorem Ipsum tools saved close by that’s useful for their web development work. Lorem Ipsum generators come in various forms; some of them allow customizing the dummy text... Read More abound on the Web for a reason. If you do an iota of work online, you will be surprised to know the uses you can put some random placeholder text to. Though it has its share of critics, dummy text is often required to fill up spaces in creative projects.

Generate Strong Passwords

DuckDuckGo Password Generator

Try the Password instant answer.

Create random strong passwords of any length. The most common method of creating passwords is using random numbers and letters. Change the numeric value in the above query to change the length of the passwords.

Quick Zipcodes

DuckDuckGo Find Zipcodes

Try the Zipcode instant answer.

Type in a zipcode and check the corresponding location. The query taps into data from MapQuest.com, so any country recorded there would be covered by the instant answer on DuckDuckGo. The reverse – typing in the name of a place and getting the zipcode unfortunately doesn’t fetch an instant answer in the search engine.

Instant Loan Calculator

DuckDuckGo Instant Loan Calculator

Try the Loan payment instant answer.

No one likes to pay back a loan, but when you have taken one it makes sense to plan a prudent repayment plan even before you sign for it. Just change the variables and you won’t need to bring out your calculator.

And Of Course – The Weather

DuckDuckGo Weather

Try the Weather forecast instant answer.

Google also does it really well. But there’s something about the clean-cut minimalism of Forecast.io from where DuckDuckGo sources this instant answer. If you haven’t been introduced yet, head here to a previous review of this elegant weather app Forecast.io: The Elegant Weather App For The Globe That Shows The Merits Of Good Design Forecast.io: The Elegant Weather App For The Globe That Shows The Merits Of Good Design A weather forecast website should be designed to make gloomy weather a bit palatable. The appropriately named Forecast.io ticks most of the boxes; including the one that says – elegance. Take the first look at... Read More .

Looking For More Goodies?

Find more on the goodies page. From cryptography to games – the umbrella is big and wide. If you don’t find what you are looking for, you can hack your own instant answers with some coding chutzpah. If you don’t know Pearl from Python suggest an idea and the community might help you out.

DuckDuckGo may remain the bridesmaid and never be the bride, but just like Wolfram Alpha (another alternative search engine), it has its uses. The search engine is on the verge of launching a revamped version with more powerful features. Try out the old and new and tell us in the comments if DuckDuckGo has a place next to Google. Of course, tell us about any Instant Answer you use too.

  1. ArturoHN
    October 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Quick Zipcodes did not work for me

  2. Yoshi C.
    July 24, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    'IMO if one is not concerned about privacy, then a minuscule percentage will use DuckDuckGo'.
    Indeed Mr. Obvious Saikat, every DDG user is certainly concerned about privacy. That's why we prefer it. And I was one of the early adopters of Chrome, when it was barely usable.

  3. Peter E
    May 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I've been using DuckDuckGo for some time, but I started to get frustrated with its results.

    Then I switched to Linux Mint 16 from Ubuntu Unity and the pre-installed firefox only had duckduckgo search engine installed and not google. This lead me to lazily using duckduckgo again but the new redesigned results page and accuracy of the results has been an absolute pleasure to use and now I only use google for google+ (clearly I'm not THAT concerned over privacy)

    • Saikat B
      May 28, 2014 at 2:50 am

      Great! I would give DDG more time. I remember it took Google more than 5-6 years to earn its first dime.

  4. DrShowMe
    May 24, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Startpage (https://startpage.com/) also gives you privacy and apparently actually uses google. It has an advanced search a la google.

    • Saikat B
      May 24, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Thanks for the link. Have to dive deeper into this.

  5. mur_phy
    May 23, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Have been using "go ducky" for a few years now and quite a few users that come to PC Tech in PalTalk have now switched since I began promoting it in stead of doing a "googly". I find it very fast but not sure I like the new structure as much as the previous but I'm sure I will get used to it. GO Ducky!!

    • Saikat B
      May 23, 2014 at 3:41 am

      Yes, the new layout is a change. But I like the more modern-cleaner-colorful look. Plus, it promises "smarter" answers.

  6. Godel
    May 22, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    I like the URL expander. I had previously used longurl.org but this is probably simpler.

    I'm not crazy about an online site generating my passwords for me, just on principle. I wonder if each password generated is then added to a list somewhere of passwords to try first when attempting a crack. There are plenty of other local password generators such as Password Maker, or the PW generators found in almost every password manager.

    • Saikat B
      May 23, 2014 at 3:37 am

      Personally, I don't rely on auto-generated passwords myself. I like to give them a semblance of logic. So, I go manual.

  7. Chinmay S
    May 22, 2014 at 10:56 am

    How do i set my location for weather? It shows China.

    • Saikat B
      May 23, 2014 at 3:35 am

      You don't have to set it. Forecast.io automatically picks it up. I don't see it being dependent on the location settings.

    • Chinmay S
      May 23, 2014 at 5:06 am

      So Forecast.io automatically selects wrong locations because I live in India.

    • Saikat B
      May 23, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Strange. I see no problems at my end (Kolkata).

    • neyson
      June 21, 2014 at 2:08 am

      "weather place" where place is the name of your city, country etc. in my case "weather barcelona"

  8. anonymous
    May 22, 2014 at 7:56 am

    DDG (DuckDuckGo.com) is greatest than google thief!

  9. Tom S
    May 22, 2014 at 7:06 am

    "I feel DDG is slower than Google"
    Those nanoseconds are so important

    • Saikat B
      May 22, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Oh yes Tom, they are. That's why DDG is strictly an "alternative" search engine for me personally -- not an everyday one. I would be interested to hear the opinion of someone who uses it day in and day out.

    • pmshah
      May 23, 2014 at 5:05 am

      May be but the results are whole lot more relevant.

    • Saikat B
      May 23, 2014 at 7:57 am

      Since it doesn't store your previous searches, DDG cannot personalize search results. That frees up results from any sort of algorithmic filters. I can argue that Google collects user data not to really better our search experience but to keep track of our usage across their ad business.

      But then on the other hand, Google does some little things far better -- like understanding the context of the search, and being more current with the latest search trends.

      I am just happy that we have alternatives we can try out with a click :)

  10. Rajaa C
    May 22, 2014 at 3:39 am

    Saikat,

    Which search engine will throw up a better result : The improved DuckDuckGo search or the new Google search with Google Panda 4.0 algorithm, which has also been rolled out?

    • Saikat B
      May 22, 2014 at 4:18 am

      Rajaa,

      IMO if one is not concerned about privacy, then a minuscule percentage will use DuckDuckGo. From my use of both, I feel DDG is slower than Google (not surprising). Relevancy? I would still go with Google for general searches.

      The Panda update has just been rolled out and its main feature seems to be targeting low-quality content. I really hope high-quality content resurfaces to the top. This will remove the charge of "low-relevancy" that has often been brought against Google. Deeply personalized searches is another matter. Not everyone likes personalized search and data tapping and it's not going to go away anytime soon.

      DDG is very new when compared to Google. It will be interesting to see how they develop. We always like the underdog. For me it's fun to see the little features that these alternative tools throw up as their USP.

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